But that year, he decided to retire, walk away what he had been doing for 38 years. "I could have gone on, but it wasn't possible," he says. He was still in good shape, playing tennis, and most importantly loved working with patients.
"The reimbursements were getting to the point that it was untenable" to continue working, Ray says. As he was dealing with personnel issues at the office a top assistant told him, "you are going to be broke in two years."
That didn't happen, but the fiscal climate prompted his retirement, or he might have considered concierge medicine. "I'm angry that I was forced to stop working," he says. "So many physicians don't want to work, and I was going 'til I almost fell over. I would have gone on several more years. Now I don't miss the hassle, but I miss the patient care."
But Ray keeps working for the Physician Foundation to keep getting the issues out front, that "viewpoint across," he says.
Of the many issues upsetting physicians, one of the most nagging is the SGR formula debacle in Congress. Congress has repeatedly put off proposed cuts, the latest reprieve for a scheduled 23% Medicare cut is now slated to begin January 1.
"It's been a broken promise from the government difficult feelings and mistrust, both parties have never stepped to the plate. Physicians cannot absorb the Medicare cuts. There needs to be a political will."